Magyars? (was: basque/Basque/bask)

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Fri Apr 19 01:25:05 UTC 2002

In a message dated 04/18/2002 6:32:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
maberry at U.WASHINGTON.EDU writes:

> The only etymology I could find for Hungarian (using only the web)  was in
>  the OED "med. Greek
>  Oungroi(Omicron-upsilon-gamma-gamma-rho-omicron-iota)".  I'm not familiar
>  with the "Oingar" as a Turkic people ("Uighur" maybe?).  I couldn't find a
>  ref to the lir dialects or shaz Turkish in Ethnologue, but they might be
>  completely extinct.

On the contrary, all Turkish dialects (as far as I know) can be classified as
either lir or shaz.  The names are descriptive:

         lir        shaz
        /l/         /sh/
        /r/        /z/

Perhaps some of the phoneticians on this will explain how the two consonant
changes are related.

The only major lir dialect today is Chuvash, spoken by the Chuvash of the
Kama River valley.  All the Turks of Turkestan speak shaz dialects.  The
Ottomans of Turkey speak shaz---they migrated from Turkestan.  Lir and shaz
are not mutually intelligible.

The Khazars spoke lir.  It is not known what language the Huns spoke (oddly,
we do know that Attila had a court jester who did dialect comedy), but the
most convincing evidence (to me at least) is that Attila spoke lir Turkish.
(By the way, the name "Attila" is German. )  There is a very tenuous chain of
evidence that the Chuvash are the descendants of the Huns.  Equally tenuous
evidence says that the Ashkenazic Jews of eastern Europe are descended from
the Khazars.  (See Koestler [ref 2] for a readable though debatable

> Isn't the -gyar in Magyar actually pronounced "-djar" as in the Hungarian
>  name Gy"orgy (George) (Help dInIs!) so the "gar" of the Turkic dialects
>  might be djar or dzhar or something similar. I think maybe the most
>  common Turkic word for "arrow" is "ok/oq".

Compare "Bulgar" and "Bashkir".  The first syllables are respectively lir and
shaz.  The second syllable is the same word "gar" or "gir" and both names
mean "five Uigurs".  Who are the Uigurs?  They are a people attested from
both Chinese and Byzantine records, and were somehow connected with the
Khazars.  Perhaps the meaning is "five tribes of Uigurs".

Ref 1 page 202 footnote 170: "The relation between Magyars and Bulgars must
at one time have been close...Magyar and Bashkir (Bashgird) are in some sense
interchangeable names...Though the Turkish origin of the Magyars is
contested...differentiation may largely consist in this, that the main body
of the Bulgars withdrew themselves from Khazar influences at a much earlier
period than the Magyars, there being at least 200 years between the westward
movements of the two peoples."

If Magyar is indeed pronounced  /Madjar/, then all you have to do is figure
out some reason to exchange a /b/ for an /m/ or vice versa and you have
"Magyar" and "Bashkir" being the same name.  Now, if "Hungary" does indeed
come from "Oingar" which in turn means "Uigur", then we have the interesting
situation that "Oingar/Hungarian" is the proper name of the people, and
"Magyar" means something like "five Hungarian tribes".

In other words, we are correct in calling the people "Hungarians" and the
Hungarians themselves are wrong in calling themselves "Magyars"!

Welcome to the wierd and wacky world of Ural-Altaic linguistics.

       James A. Landau
       systems engineer
       FAA Tech Center (ACS-510/BCI)
       Atlantic City Airport NJ 08405 USA

ref 1: D. M. Dunlop _The History of the Jewish Khazars_ New York: Schocken
Books, 1967, no ISBN.

ref 2: Arthur Koestler _The Thirteenth Tribe_ New York: Random House, 1976,
ISBN 0-394-40284-7.

P.S. it has been suggested that "hussar" is derived from "Khazar."  Ref 1
page 3 gives the following chain: Magyar "husza/r" from Serbo-Croat "husar"
from Greek "chosarios" from "Khosiarioi" meaning "latrones et sicarii" from
(probably Turkish) "Khazar" meaning either "nomad" or "people from the north"

P.P.S. yes the "G-word" is "gringo".  LIke the N-word it is "usu. offensive."

"GI" will not fit the description, as it is not rare to find a description of
"poor Foobaristani GI's suffering...".

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